As I mentioned on my other blog page today, I ventured ‘home’ this morning. Home to church where I used to attend. Short of a funeral or wedding, it is the first time in 4 years I’ve stepped foot in a sanctuary and I was rather nervous about it. Not that I feared the people, or the walls falling down, but I really did not know what I would find when I went back. Certainly I had hoped to be welcome there, but I wasn’t going for the people, I was going back because the Lord drew me there. There to where the teaching is doctrinally sound, which for me right now is crucial. The people were secondary, though also important. I missed my ‘family’ there so very much.
I had no idea how many had kept praying for me over the years, and there were many! There were more than a few tearful embraces this morning, which really helped me feel like it was home again. I have a feeling how the prodigal son must have felt. I had not been at all certain what to expect, and what I found was love. And I needed that. I’ve been away from the love of the believing body of Christ way too long.
Pastor’s message this morning was from Jeremiah 23:9-40, and it struck deep in my heart. While I’m no prophet, I’m guilty of affirming others sin and telling them things are okay, helping them feel comfortable in their sin. The number one person I did this with was myself. And in affirming that sin, in them and myself, I took away theirs and my own shame of what I was doing and how I was living my life and they their own.
I found it interesting that he brought up that sexual sin is the most common to fall into when God’s people forsake Him and turn away. I’ve been there, that is precisely where I fell too when my heart began to grow numb to the things of God. They were already the sins I was falling into while married and still attending there. Perhaps that is why we were so easily finding fault in the music and teaching within the church, because it was our own hearts that had issues. We were off the path and rapidly headed to the swamp and God left us to ourselves. I’ve been floundering around in a sludge pit since, pretending all was just fine and convincing myself and others that we were not doing anything at all wrong. And believing that God was not seeing what we were up too. Well of course I know better, that all is indeed laid open and visible to the Lord, nothing is hidden from Him ever. But If I didn’t allow myself to think about it, then He couldn’t, in my mind, see it.
As the message was taught I knew it was there for me to hear. I picked the precise Sunday, by Divine design, to return home. I NEEDED to hear that, but to also hear that God’s word calls us out from our private, secret sins, and reveals our hearts to us so that we see where we are falling short of His glory. And that we are cleansed in the blood of Christ and made whole again.
I chose not to take communion today, feeling I first needed to speak to the pastor. I also had a chance to talk to an old, dear friend and elder at the church. DL and I talked, about how much we butted heads in the past. It was never a bad thing, as iron sharpens iron, he always has been a great example to me. And he affirmed today that I am still his sister in Christ and that he and his wife still in fact love me. We talked about how things down the road may again feel ‘ordinary’ when it comes to the music or messages. But I feel that if I get that itch again, I need to look inward at MY heart and see what it is that I am struggling with. If the message is soundly from scripture, and I am not being fed, then the problem is most likely with ME and no one else.
Pastor finished up talking about revelation of the Word (speaking it) and the incarnation of the Word (living it). Time I started doing both again.
My sin may be hidden from others, but my Father in Heaven sees all. There in the passage, long ago, I had highlighted:
“Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 23:24
I can no longer pretend He does not see, and does not know, and does not care.